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U.S. war exercises threaten Caribbean

Posted in the database on Thursday, May 18th, 2006 @ 12:13:48 MST (958 views)
by Cheryl LaBash    Workers World  

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May 20 protests to demand: ‘Hands off Cuba and Venezuela’

Even as a nuclear-powered U.S. war fleet and 6,500 Marines are conducting maneuvers in the Caribbean that threaten Cuba, Venezuela and other anti-imperialist countries throughout the Americas, another kind of mobilization is occurring across the globe.

On May 20, demonstrations from Austria to Australia, from Brazil to Canada, will coincide with a march in Washington, D.C., to demand “U.S. hands off Venezuela and Cuba”—“Manos fuera de Venezuela y Cuba.”

The situation is urgent. According to the Cuban newspaper Granma, the scope of the U.S. military maneuvers dwarfs even the Pentagon’s naval deployment during the October 1962 missile crisis. Similar maneuvers in the past were used to gather information needed to launch aggression, like the “exercises” that preceded the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983.

They can also be used to send a direct threat, as the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, which is published in the heavily militarized Hampton Roads area, noted in a March 28 article:

“Some defense analysts suggested that the unusual two-month-long deployment, set to begin in early April, could be interpreted as a show of force by anti-American governments in Venezuela and Cuba. ‘The presence of a U.S. carrier task force in the Caribbean will definitely be interpreted as some sort of signal by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela,’ said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, a pro-defense think tank in Washington. ‘If I was sitting in the Venezuela capital looking at this American task force, the message I would be getting is America still is not so distracted by Iraq that it is unable to enforce its interests in the Caribbean,’ Thompson said.”

Radio Havana says this ominous show of force will be followed by yet another maneuver in the Caribbean involving 4,000 NATO troops and lasting from May 23 to June 15.

Students, labor, Latinas mobilize

Who is answering the call to be in the streets on May 20?

New York high school students have filled two buses and are getting a third. The New York Health and Hospital Union, 1199 SEIU, printed leaflets that were passed out at the massive May 1 boycott demanding full rights for all immigrants and at the April 29 march to bring the troops home from Iraq.

Cuban Americans and Bolivarian Circle activists are traveling to D.C. from Miami. Other marchers will be converging on the capital by van from Detroit and Atlanta, by bus from Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Richmond, Va., and other areas, and by car and metro in Washington, D.C. They intend to say no in person to new anti-Cuba and anti-Venezuela measures planned by the U.S. government.

May 20 is also African Liberation Day. Particularly noteworthy is the collaboration with ALD organizers, who are sharing their stage and sound at the Malcolm X Park gathering site with this mobilization. There will also be strong participation of African-American organizations and leaders, including People’s Hurricane Relief, All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party and People of African Descent in Solidarity with Venezuela.

Actor Danny Glover, anti-war leader Cindy Sheehan and author Noam Chom sky are all recent endorsers who have been invited to speak.

The march will begin by greeting the Cuban Interests Section and then proceed to the quasi-governmental National Endowment for Democracy, which has heavily funded the right-wing opposition in Venezuela, on its way to Lafayette Park across from the White House.

On the West Coast, a march in Los Angeles will gather at the downtown Federal Building at noon on May 20.

Audio addresses from national leaders of both Bolivarian Venezuela and Cuba will be aired in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Other invited speakers are attorneys Leonard Weinglass and Jose Per tierra, Reverends Lucius Walker and Luis Barrios, Colombian trade unionist Gerardo Cajamarca, and Elma Beatriz Rosado, widow of slain Puerto Rican freedom fighter Filiberto Ojeda Rios.

Weinglass represents Antonio Guerre ro, one of the five Cuban anti-terrorists held unjustly in U.S. prisons. Jose Pertierra represents the government of Venezuela in extradition proceedings against Luis Posada Carriles, an admitted terrorist who is wanted in Venezuela for the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana airlines flight that killed 73 people, including a young fencing team.

The struggle to Free the Cuban Five and extradite Posada will be featured at the activity. Other themes include stopping U.S. intervention and hostile campaigns against Venezuela, ending Washington’s economic and political war against Cuba, allowing U.S. citizens and legal residents to travel freely to Cuba, normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations, closing the Guantanamo torture camp and returning Guantanamo to Cuba, and stopping all U.S. military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Online donations can be made at www.may20coalition.org, which also has more information. For West Coast information, call (213) 383-9283 or (323) 936-7266. There are downloadable Los Angeles leaflets at www.iacenterla.org.



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